Friday, July 31, 2009


I always wanted to have Nell's spectacular shimmering sequined work 'Unlimited Radiance' in the show. The massive piece recalls the logo for the classic surf flick  'Morning of the Earth' and seems to conjure up everything about the experience of bobbing about in the water as the sun either comes up or goes down - those meditative moments when nature is so phenomenal that it doesn't even matter if you get a wave or not. 
Sadly, the dimensions of the piece were simply too big for the Hazelhurst gallery space and we had to abandon the idea. Today I met with Nell in her Rushcutters Bay studio to discuss another concept that she's been tossing about, one that sits more comfortably with her current artistic pursuits. 
In her exhibition 'All The Way' which opened at Ros Oxley's Gallery last September, Nell explored her 3 practices of art, Zen meditation and yoga in a series of paintings which featured figures in the lotus position with various texts inscribed upon their skin. Expect to see an evolution of this yogi coming to a beach near you.

Thursday, July 30, 2009


Saw this pic in the Bali Post and wanted to share the joy. Nice protest - shame about the board blocking the website.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Just Because He Surfs Doesn't Mean He Has A Brain

In The Australian last Friday the opposition spokesman on families and housing suggested that the public's concern about global warming was a fad and "that adapting to climate change may be more sensible than trying to create a largely carbon-free economy". 
Meanwhile, on the other side of this front page photo was a story about the port of Newcastle being all set to triple its annual output of coal to 300 million tonnes by 2015 - the very same year by which scientists are telling us we must stabilise the planet's temperature at 2 degrees centigrade. 
42 ships were pictured already anchored awaiting shipments, similar to the ones seen coming and going in Sarah Smuts Kennedy's old school animation 'Another Day In Paradise', currently on show at GBK, Waterloo. This work, which  will feature in 'Wax On', is being exhibited alongside her glazed and gilded coal nuggets which are elevated on delightful sculpted plinths, and her paintings including the gorgeous yet disturbing 'Quarry Vision'. 
Sarah and I are now off to the Liverpool Plains now to research 'COAL - The Musical'.


What surf exhibition would be complete without 'Heaven' - Tracey Moffat's fab perv fest video compilation from 1997? The New York Times called it "A playful video that glories in the female gaze and objectification of man" - that man, of course, being Surfer Man caught in the midst of his everyday ritual of getting out of his black rubber wetsuit. Fetishised under Ms Moffatt's direction, this sub-species reveals itself to be quite willing to flash a bit of bum crack and even some saucily packed lunch.
Her latest video compilation 'Mother' is now on show at Ros Oxley's Gallery in Paddington, Sydney featuring classic clips of the mother/daughter relationship as depicted in movies such as 'Mommie Dearest' and 'Rabbit Proof Fence'.

Ms Moffatt also makes an appearance in Daniel Mudie Cunningham's new show at MOP Projects in Chippendale as part of his 'The Jodie Foster Archive'. Her letter to Daniel from 1996 about 'almost meeting Jodie' is pure fandom. Ms Foster was on location filming 'Silence of the Lambs' at the time so the encounter didn't happen but I'll try to find out if they've met since.

Daniel, by the way, is the Exhibition Coordinator and head Curator at Hazelhurst Regional Gallery & Arts Centre where 'Wax On' will open on Dec 4, 2009.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Fresh from the Spice Islands as I am has prompted me to introduce another Wax On artist, Tim Silver. I tried to get 'Full Rub', his excellent wax cast surfboard for the show (seen here impaled at MOP gallery in 2005) but the work has since melted. 
Instead, we've secured a series of five gorgeous and humorous photographs that hint at the irresistible lure of the South East Asian Archipelago as a mecca for surfers. Here's how Tim describes it:

"The process documents a Havianna thong, cast from cinnamon, set against a beach and documents it's demise against the incoming tide.  It's from a larger series called (coming round again), which featured other 

objects cast from other materials, such as Mace Sunglasses, Nutmeg Coke Cans, Ginger Croc Shoes and so on."

If only the real McCoy drift would smell so good and decompose so effortlessly!

The Plastic Wave

Back in Sydney after a very wild time in Timor Leste. Didn't take the board with me in the end because when I consulted with 
the President's Office staff they told me there was no surf in the country. From what I can gather it's all over in West Timor but I 
did feel as if I'd missed out as I watched all the surfers load up their sticks at Denpasar airport. Among them was Steve 
Ormandy from Dinosaur Designs who said he'd had some of the best surfing ever in Bali - and he's been there heaps over the 
decades I've known him.

Meanwhile I was hanging out with the inspirational Jose Ramos Horta driving in a massive convoy through the remote border districts
promoting peace and unity and generally trying to be a tourist in a place that's really not ready for tourism yet. 

Every Friday morning the Prez goes down to his local beach in Dili with all his staff and does a massive
clean up job, watched over by the beefy Portuguese United Nations Guarde National with their dark sunnies and security ear-pieces
marking them out from the crowd.

You could make a major installation from all the plastic that he and his posse collect each week in their efforts to inspire local pride
in place.

Liane Rossler (Steve's co-director of Dino Designs) sent me this link of a work by surfing artist Kathleen Egan from San Francisco's Ocean Beach
which highlights the issue of pollution in the waves.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


Went to check out a new group exhibition of ceramic work today called 'Crossfire'. My mission was to have a good squizz at ten tantilising tiles made by South Australian surfing artist Gerry Wedd. Each one features a cartoonish 'Sgraffito' image of a legendary surfer demonstrating their landmark manourves such as Snowy McAlister performing a headstand on his mal and Midget Farrelly on a wave with his arms thrown up in the air.
When I spoke with Gerry on the phone about getting some of these precious little gems into 'Wax On', he'd just come in from a surf at his local break and confessed that he was dripping salt water from every orifice. "I think they're art" he said of the tiles which are displayed in simple Ikea frames. I totally agree. See what you think of them at Legge Gallery 183 Regent Street Redfern until July 25 or on Gerry's own blog-

And speaking of Crossfire, I'm off to East Timor tomorrow to explore some new surf spots. Ah, the allure of the far out East.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Waxheads on canvas

The very first artwork secured for 'Wax On' was Adam Cullen's portrait of local Shire legend Mark Occhilupo. It was painted for the AGNSW's one-off 'Sporting Portrait Prize' back in 2000, the same year in which Cullen won the Archibald Prize with his painting of David Wenham (who, incidentally, I saw this morning in my local cafe while I was having a meeting with our catalogue designer David Corbet). Roy Slaven and HG Nelson  judged the Sporting Archie along with director Edmund Capon who later remarked that Cullen "probably painted his ... entry... with his own vomit and that it was, therefore, in the eyes of my sensitive colleagues, ineligible on technical grounds." 
We're thrilled to have been able to borrow the controversial work from the Australian National Maritime Museum for the show but I've always wanted to find a companion portrait of an outstanding female surfer to hang alongside it.
Today I spoke with Pam Burridge who won the World Title back in 1990 aged 25 and she's agreed to sit for the rockin' Gold Coast artist Abbey McCulloch next weekend! 
I remember surfing with Pam in a heat during the 1978 Pepsi-Golden Breed Pro Junior at Manly. Needless to say she ripped the bikini right off of me as she shredded her way to the top but we hooked up again later that year for the inaugural meeting of the NSW Branch of the Australian Womens Surfriders Association. I recall that she was nominated President and I was elected Treasurer but my 15 year old brain just wasn't up to the task of managing all that sponsorship so I bailed and went back to soul surfing.  
It's a blast to know that we'll be representing the chick that Tracks magazine dubbed " a fully stoked surf rat" and that Abbey, who's now been hung twice in the Archibald (with her portrait of Toni Collette in 2007 and this year with my mug as pictured) will do the honours. You can be assured it wont look like vomit!